By DOTTY NIST
Detailed plans for 20 single-family units have been conditionally approved to move foward in connection with the Inlet Beach development known as Lupin Beach.
The approval took place at the Walton County Technical Review Committee (TRC) regular meeting on Sept. 5 at the South Walton Annex.
The 6.36-acre Lupin Beach property is located south of U.S. 98 and Walton Magnolia Lane, adjacent and to the west of the Walton/Bay County line. The property includes more than 700 feet of beachfront.
The Walton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) had granted approval for Lupin Beach in 2010 as a 20-unit conceptual planned unit (PUD) development. As part of that approval, developer EBSCO Gulf Coast Development, Inc., had agreed to pay for a public dune walkover along the county line, in an area where residents had been accustomed to accessing the beach. The walkover has been constructed.
At the TRC meeting, residents in attendance asked if the detailed plans being considered for approval would go before the county commission.
TRC member Mac Carpenter of Walton County Planning and Development Services responded that at this time the plans were being processed as a minor development order application. Minor development proposals generally are not required to undergo consideration by the Walton County Planning Commission and BCC.
Carpenter said that historically, and certainly during the five years he had been working for the county, detailed plans for approved conceptual PUDs had been treated as minor developments.
Anita Page commented that it had been clear that the approval by the BCC was a conceptual approval only and that concerns of neighbors of the development needed to be resolved.
“This has been a very public project,” countered Jim Martelli, and engineer representing EBSCO. Martelli said the BCC approval had included specific site plans for the development featuring building footprints—and that the site plans for the current application are identical to those site plans.
“We followed the code, we followed the Comprehensive Plan. We followed up with technical submittal. We have nothing to hide; we are very proud of this project,” Martelli added.
Heather Whitmore, county planner and TRC member, noted that county staff had reviewed EBSCO’s technical submittal, and had found that it met the requirements of the Walton County Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Code, with the exception of several conditions to be addressed. These included: the developer obtaining a Coastal Construction Control Line (CCCL) permit before beginning any construction seaward of the CCCL; the payment upon development order issuance of $18,690 to the Proportionate Fair Share Program; and the naming of streets to the satisfaction of 911 addressing/mapping before recording of the plat for the development.
Alan Ficarra countered that, even if the detailed plan was the same as the one submitted at the time of conceptual approval, there had been no serious review of the plan at that time. This was because the public had been told that future plans for the development would go before the BCC, he said. “They said it could all change,” he recalled.
Mike Parsonnet recalled that seven residents had questioned the development at the time of the BCC approval. “This was a done deal,” be complained.
County planner Renee Bradley asked if going before the BCC had been a condition in the conceptual PUD approval.
Carpenter responded that there was no such condition in the BCC’s final order approving the conceptual PUD.
Page asked if lots would be platted and homes constructed south of the CCCL. Martelli answered yes, but that no new lots would be platted south of the CCCL.
Some lots had already been existence on the property, on which several homes had at one time been located….
Read the full story in the Sept. 13, 2012 edition of the Herald Breeze.